As Chinese-branded motorcycles go, CFMoto enjoys a solid reputation in the Philippines for its affordable and solidly spec’d motorcycles. The 400NK is a popular entry-level and expressway-legal naked that’s goes for just P219,800—perfect for beginners looking to gain some experience with big bikes before moving up the displacement. The 650MT, on the other hand, brings 650cc sport touring for just P354,000—well below competitors like the Kawasaki Versys 650 and the Suzuki V-Strom 650.
The manufacturer’s close partnerships with Kiska Design and KTM through the years have also enabled its engineers to catch up to global standards in terms of design language and the reliability of its components.
The latest introduction is aimed at young, style-focused riders who want a lot of bang for the buck. It’s called the 700CL-X Sport, and it’s priced at just P399,800. First unveiled at EICMA 2019, the bike is a neo-retro café racer/roadster with a gutsy 693cc parallel-twin engine rated at 73hp at 8,500rpm, and 68Nm at 6,500rpm. CFMoto has also thrown in the proverbial kitchen sink by including a six-speed transmission with slipper clutch, selectable ride modes, cruise control (!), a steel-tube trellis frame, and quality brakes and suspension.
Brembo Stylema calipers with dual front 300mm discs, a single rear 260mm disc, and ABS are shockingly good specs for the price. The suspension setup is similarly impressive: 20 clicks of adjustability for both the KYB inverted fork, and the cantilever rear shock’s preload and damping. The cast aluminum-alloy wheels are shod in 17-inch Maxxis MA-ST2 sport tires: 120/70 in front and 180/55 at the back.
Just as striking as the spec sheet are the bike’s aesthetics. The stubby tail is nicely complemented by the nearly parallel angle of the exhaust, and the foundation line runs from the base of the rear light all the way to the bottom of the tank as a nice accent. The visual weight is centered on the mass of the engine. The tank is a little too large to look pretty, but riders will appreciate that it holds 13L.
LED lighting is used all around, highlighted by that starfish-shaped headlamp. Other thoughtful details include fork leg covers, a stamped aluminum heat shield on the tailpipe, and bar-end mirrors. The clip-on handlebars seem to be mounted rather high for a café-racer type of motorcycle, and don’t quite match the so-called bone line of the bike, but hopefully it is more comfortable to ride than a super-low setup that looks nice but is a pain in the ass. Two color schemes of Nebula White and Velocity Gray are initially available.
Priced well below competitors like the Kawasaki Z650 and the Yamaha MT-07, and equipped with some components that the Japanese don’t even have, it’s a tempting buy for riders willing to give a nontraditional brand a shot. We’ll get our hands on a demo unit soon to see if the bike rides as good as it looks.